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Selling on Tittle + Tat
When you register on Tittle + Tat as a seller you automatically receive your own shopfront within the Tittle + Tat website! Yay! Why is this fabulous news?
For starters it gives you your own unique url, For Example http://tittleandtat.com.au/shop/name. You can use your url to direct sellers to your shop, print it on your business cards, put it on your blog, your Facebook page etc. By having a shop front all of your products are grouped together so the buyer can see all your beautiful items in one place.
In effect it is like having your own mini website within the Tittle + Tat site but better! You don’t have to worry about the administration, marketing or maintenance that comes along with running your own website, it is all done for you!
With Love Tittle + Tat x
Firstly you need to have products to sell. Make sure your products are within the guidelines of what you can sell on Tittle & Tat, check out the Tittle + Tat FAQ/Help section or Terms and Conditions if you are unsure.
Choosing a name can be difficult and is a decision that should not be rushed. Firstly you should check that no other sellers are using the name you would like to use. Do a search on the T+T site and see if your preferred name is free.
Next you want to make sure your name is “googable”. You don’t want a name that is going to get lost amongst the search results. If you choose something like “Hot Noodles” this might be quirky but do you want to get lost amongst all the takeaway restaurants and recipes on the web?
Do a search on the web for your name. Is anyone else using this? If your name is Little Brown Box, is the url littlebrownbox.com taken? You might not be at the point of having your own website right now but you should always think ahead of what might happen in the future. You can also do a trademark search in your country of origin to check if anyone else has rights to the name you would like to use. Also check to see if the business name is registered in your area. You might think this is unnecessary for your little hobby business, but who knows, tomorrow you could have a thriving international business!
Your username should be your shop name (it is how people find you on T+T and in search engines), so it is a good idea to put your shop name in your banner. Two different names can confuse a buyer, cause them to search for you under the wrong name, and potentially cost you sales.
Try not to make your name really specific and narrow to one particular category. At the present time you might be knitting scarves and “Julies Scarves” may seem like a good idea for a name, however are you always only going to be knitting scarves? You might branch out into other areas. Who knows, next year you might be designing jewellery.
If the shop name/username you have chosen has two or more words, create a visual separation by making the first letters of each word capital letters instead of lowercase. For example, “BigBrownBox” reads so much better than bigbrownbox.”
Come up with a name that is memorable, this can be easier said than done but you should try and think of something that will stick in peoples minds so they will easily remember. Avoid words that are too hard to spell. Say your name aloud, make sure it can’t be mistaken for something else.
Having an eye-catching Banner for your shop can help you create the brand for your shop and helps to tell your story. It will be a customer’s first impression of you and your shop. It shows that you are a professional. Make sure it says a little about you and your unique style. If you sell quirky products make your name a little quirky. If you do a google search you will find loads of free avatar making software, or if you have Photoshop or similar software you could have a go at making your own. There are also plenty of designers & artists who would be happy to design one for you for a fee. If you don’t want a fancy customised banner you might want to use a product image or just your logo, even a favourite photo. It is all up to you & your imagination.
It is really simple using the Tittle + Tat cropping tool when you upload your banner image. You just need to choose which part of the image you want to crop around, press crop and hey presto! You have a banner!
When you upload your avatar/banner to your Tittle + Tat Shopfront, images will be scaled to 733px wide, so you should try and ensure your source image is at least that. The ideal size is 733 pixels wide x 125 pixels.
Buyers love to know a little about who they are buying from. Your profile is a fantastic opportunity as a seller to attract customers. Entice them into your store by giving them a peek into the life of the person behind the business and the items you are selling.
You need to really grab the reader’s attention right from the start. Make the introduction interesting so that the reader will want to get to know more about you and what you have to offer.
Tell the reader about who you are. Putting a face behind the shopping experience really helps for people to trust you.
BIG TIP- PLEASE PLEASE utilise the profile picture feature. If you don’t upload a profile picture your customer will see a very unattractive generic greyed out silhouette of a person. Wouldn’t you much rather they see your smiling face?
If you are really camera shy, then at least upload a great product picture in this space. Another great reason for including a profile picture is that on T+T we have a Show + Tell section on the home page. This showcases and features one of our lovely T+T sellers on a random rotation. If your shop front appears in Show + Tell on the home page it looks much better to have a lovely profile pic in this space rather than boring Mr Grey man.
Where do you live? How did you start your business? Tell the buyer about your artistic journey to this point. What are your passions? What inspires you? Writing a short biography can give the buyers a snapshot of you as an artist and humanises the shopping experience. Information about the artist and the product adds value to your product. People just love to tell others about where and what they bought i.e. “I bought this adorable little pair of eco baby shoes which were made by this fantastic designer from Australia who makes babies shoes out of recycled bicycle inner tubes”.
Tell the reader something about your business and your products. Tell a story. Do you have an interesting story behind how you came to be doing what you are doing or how your business started? Even a fictional story such as that used in the about section on the Tittle + Tat site can add to the mystique if executed well.
Are you a WAHM (work at home mum)? Is your business a part time venture or are you lucky enough to have quit your day job to be a full time artist or crafter? What is special about your products? Tell the reader a little about how you create your product.
Proofread! Attention to detail is so important in giving a good first impression and making sure your buyers perceive you as being a professional. Get a friend to have a read through your profile before you post it. You can’t always see your own mistakes, an extra set of eyes will give a fresh prospective.
The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true than when selling online. Photos are critically important to your success.
Your customers cannot touch or feel the items that you are selling. They are relying on your product images to give them tangible evidence of what they will be purchasing. So please, please, don’t jeopardise your sales or your reputation by uploading terrible photos. This is so important!
A photograph is also a tribute to the hard work and love you have put into your craft, you need them to be beautiful and reflective of that.
You don’t need a fancy camera, online images only need to be 72dpi (dots per inch) and great photos can be taken from simple point and shoot digital cameras or even your mobile phone.
With some experimenting and a bit of patience you can learn to take lovely photographs. Check out your competitor’s photographs, is there something that you think works or doesn’t work? Use this to get ideas and to improve you own photographs.
Where possible show your crafts in their natural environment. Perhaps you make baby shoes, take a photo of your baby shoes on a real baby’s cute little feet. If you make baby cots sets or doona’s, photograph your products in the baby’s bedroom or cot. Nothing helps people to imagine something in their own life like seeing it in action.
Have fun! Look in books and magazines for inspiration, use great props and beautiful backgrounds. Secondary objects in a photo can sometimes enhance the main focal point. You may be able to use other products in the background without detracting from the main product and make the shot come alive. Be careful not to clutter your image, keep it simple.
Take lots of shots, try different angles, move the props around. I can assure you, your images are going to keep getting better and better the more you practice.
Lighting is critical. There is nothing worse than an image that is too dark, washed out or off colour. Where possible it is always best to use natural light. Sometime this is not always possible due to time constraints or bad weather. There are some great tools on your digital camera, such as EV ? Exposure Value and white balance that can help you overcome these problems and enable you take to better brighter photos.
EV is the exposure setting on your camera and is used to describe how the camera divides an image into different areas for light metering. It is basically just what your eyes do when looking at anything. Exposure values are the numeric values +1, -2, etc which describe a combination of shutter speed and lens aperture (how much light gets in when taking the shot). 0 is the default setting and if you change the values up or down you can allow more or less light to reach the cameras sensors, which will brighten or darken your image.
Even the most basic of cameras should have an EV mode, read about how to use this function in your product manual. If an image looks too dark you will need to increase the amount of light allowed to reach your camera sensors (i.e +1, or +2 etc) if the image looks too bright and washed out you will need to lessen the amount of light by going down by -1, or -2 etc. Experiment until you get the perfect image.
Check to see if your camera offers different White Balance settings, Artificial presets may include “fluorescent” or “tungsten” Select the preset that matches your light source and take your shot.
When shooting indoors, be sure to have at least two sources of light, one on each side of the item, to avoid harsh shadows.
A good source of light can be as straightforward as a bright windowsill. Direct sunlight, however, can sometimes wash out and overexpose your photo. To avoid this you can either shoot on an overcast day or diffuse the light with a sheer curtain or a piece of tracing paper taped to the window.
Don’t be scared, it is really simple! A light box is just a fancy name for a three-sided box that you can use to place products inside with some lighting to help you to take great photos.
Find a decent sized box and remove one of the sides and the top, leaving three sides and a bottom, this allows you to shoot from above or straight on. A large cardboard box is ideal; a plastic storage tub will also work. You need to cover all sides of your box with white paper, find some white clean and unwrinkled paper that is large enough to fit over each side, attach the paper to the 3 walls of the inside with bulldog clips or tape. Now you need a lamp, a swing arm desk lamp or a clip on industrial lamp works really well. Set up the lamp and shine it into your box. Place your item in the box and adjust the lighting until you are happy with it, ensuring that there is no glare on the object that you are photographing. Check for unwanted shadows, you may need to light sources. A piece of white paper or tracing paper can help to diffuse the light in a shot. Sheer fabric will also work. Click away and wahlah! Great indoor shots!
An investment in a photo editing software such as Photoshop is invaluable, however not essential. Simple editing software can usually be found free online or with your existing photo management software. Having the tools to change the brightness, sharpness and the ability to crop photographs can be very helpful in improving the photograph at the post production stage. My favourite free online software is http://pixlr.com/editor/. Quick, simple and very user friendly.
One of the hardest aspects of selling online is that your customer cannot smell, or feel or try on your product before buying. They are relying on the product image and the description of the product in deciding whether or not they want to buy. They can only use their sight so you need to give them all that you’ve got. Include as many details as possible in your description about what you are selling. Tell them what materials you used, measurements and size, and anything else you think would be useful for your customers to know. You could provide them with ideas and uses, for example. “ This little girls dress would be perfect for a summer day or would look absolutely adorable teamed with a skivvy and pair of tights for winter.”
Imagine you are the customer, what would you like to know before you buy something?
Is that hand knitted babies cardigan scratchy or lovely and soft? Does that baby sling accommodate a newborn and up to what size baby? Think of every possible question a buyer may have and provide them with the answers before they have to ask you, as they may never ask and you might lose a sale.
Keywords used when listing an item are very important. A keyword is simply an explanatory word that helps shoppers find what they are looking for. Look through your descriptions of what you wrote about an item to work out what the keywords should be. They can be; item name, colour, materials used and any other descriptor to assist in leading the customer to your product. Think about what words the customer may search on. Any word that is a selling point should be one of your keywords.
Business Cards: Have business cards with your Tittle + Tat shop on them.
Who you know and the contacts you make when out and about in the real world are very important for your business. It is all about getting your name and your Tittle + Tat shop out in the open. Handing out business cards is a great way to do this. Make up business cards with all of your business information & your unique Tittle + Tat URL, i.e. http://tittleandtat.com.au/shop/name.
You might be out with your kids and another mum comments on something your child is wearing that you made. This is your opportunity to shine! Tell them you made it, say “thank you” and hand them a business card. You may not have immediate sales but when they are in the market for a nice gift or something for their own kids they will think of you and that card you gave them. Next time you are at a party and you meet someone new, when the inevitable “so what do you do” questions is asked, tell them. If they are your target audience hand them a card. World of mouth is so powerful! If you have a blog make sure you also include this information on your card and tell people if you are on Facebook and how to find you.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I do! If you have your own blog or website why not hold a giveaway? Having a giveaway helps to attract traffic to your blog and can be lots of fun for both you and your readers.
To have a giveaway post, all you need to do is decide what you would like to give away, the more goodies the better! Take some beautiful snap shots of the products and then write a post telling people what you are giving away. On your blog, invite readers to enter by leaving a comment. Put a closing time on your giveaway (usually 3 days). When the time is up, close your comments and pick a winner. To do this you can do it the old fashioned way, by putting the number of people that entered into a hat. For example if you have received 30 comments put the numbers 1-30 on separate pieces of paper into a hat and pull out a number. If the number you pull out is 21, then the person to leave the 21st comment on your blog is the winner. You can also do this electronically using a random number generator. This is where a computer will randomly select a number for you. All you have to do is visit a website that offers this service. http://www.random.org/ is one such website which you can use if you need a random number generated. Another way to run the giveaway is to have the entrants subscribe to your blog or mailing list. Once they've joined, you can notify potential customers of new products, sales, or any other business that will generate sales for you.
Get out into the real world and talk to people! Yes actually talk to people face to face. Not all traffic and customers can be gained online. There are so many ways you can find new customers. Get out into your community, attend markets and craft fairs and hand out flyers. Put flyers on community bulletin boards and leave them at mothers groups, childcare centres, kindergartens, schools, swim schools and maternity wards. Tell friends and family and anyone who will listen about your products. Always try to carry a sample, image or business cards of your products to give to potential customers.
When you sell a product on Tittle + Tat, you're essentially creating a brand and a name for yourself. By effectively branding your products, you can increase traffic dramatically. Try including your name on packaging, promotional items, business cards, and anything else that goes out into the world. Don't forget to add your Tittle + Tat shop address and name. People will talk, and this is a great way for them to find out who you are and remember you along the line. Make sure everything is cohesive, whether it be with a graphic, font, or color.
There is power in numbers! You alone holding a sale or giveaway might not get much attention, but a well-coordinated collaborative effort where many shops hold a sale or a giveaway has the potential to bring in many more customers than you could bring in on your own. Get talking to other sellers. There may be another T + T seller who makes a product which ties in really nicely with your own. You could both promote each other through your blog, Facebook and listings and hold a giveaway or sale on a package of both your products. For example you might make owl themed cot sets for babies rooms and someone else might make owl plushies or mobiles. You could team up and have a package giveaway, or when you are writing your listing for your owl mobile you could mention the other sellers store name and product and feature a photo of both products. e.g “my owl themed cot sets looks just gorgeous with the owl mobiles made by Tittle + Tat seller Jennifer from Doo Dah Designs, check out her store. The 3rd image in this listing shows one of Jennifer’s beautiful mobiles with my cot set.” The image would be in a baby nursery with both sellers products featured. Jennifer would then also reciprocate the referral in her listing of her mobiles and she would use the same image.
Ever heard of the saying “you get what you pay for”? The price you choose for your product can say something about what you make, particularly with hand crafted one-of-a-kind items. The price you select can be the first indicator of value to a customer.
This price perceives value phenomenon is visible in many industries; take a look at the cosmetics industry for example. The marketing, packaging and the sales pitch of one anti cellulite cream versus another might have you believing that one of them has unique special properties and that a higher price means better quality. When in reality they may be nearly identical, (and probably both useless, we both know those creams don’t work!)
You should think about what you and your creativity are worth, don’t undersell yourself! It is better not to price your products at a point that sells easily because people think they are cheap. Take a good look at your items. Do you use great quality materials? Do you have a unique technique? Have you done specialised training in your field? Do you have quality and unique packaging and presentation? There might be many reasons why you feel you can justify asking for a premium price for your products. All you need to do is tell your customers in your description, why your product is worth more than the shop next door. If your starting price is too low it is very hard to go up but you can always discount your items at a later stage if needed.
If items are not selling many sellers are quick to assume that their price must be too high. Don’t assume. The truth is, the price might be too low. Experiment, you might be able to charge more, increase sales and your goods perceived value at the same time.
Have a look at what your competitors are charging. Do your research thoroughly and look across several shops and websites, not just Tittle + Tat. This will give you a true picture of the average current market price. Once you have found the price range, evaluate the other products against your own. When evaluating the pricing ask yourself, is my product made of better materials? Is there more work in producing my product? Do the other artists have a similar reputation and recognition to my own? Think about your answers and tell your customers what is distinctive about you and your product. Tell them the things that your competitors can’t reproduce.
Like all the relationships we hold, whether it is with a partner, friend or customer, we all know that communication is the key to success.
No-one likes to be kept wondering when their item might arrive or to be ignored. Talk to your customer!
Start by sending an email acknowledging receipt of their order and thank them. Let them know when you plan on sending the item out and address them by name.
Once you have sent the item you could then send another personalised email letting the customer know that their order is on the way. Thank them again and invite them to come back and visit your store in the future.
If you receive an email asking a question or commenting on one of your handmade items, make sure you answer them straight away!
Prompt personal communication is so important and customers really appreciate your attention.
Good communication not only reflects positively on you and your business but it also gives your potential buyer confidence and will ensure return customers.
If you make promises such as “sure I can have that product shipped to you within the next two days” make sure you follow through!
If you have a policy to ship within 3 days, make sure you do! People do not like to be kept waiting. If for some reason there is an occasion when you cannot ship within 3 days, communicate! Let your customer know.
Be honest, one of the reasons people buy handmade is because they are buying from a real person not a corporation. They expect that personal connection and they expect you to be true to your word. If you are experiencing an unforseen problem but you are honest with your customer, 9 times out of 10 they will be willing to work with you.
Make excellent customer service a trademark of your business. People talk and share their good and bad shopping experiences. It is imperative to your business and your brand that you ensure people only have positive things to say about you.
We all know, you are not going to please everybody all of the time. Things go wrong, we all make mistakes and we end up with an unsatisfied customer.
Try to remain positive and use positive language when communicating with your customer. Ask “What can I do to resolve this for you?” try to see the situation from the customer’s point of view, you might find that their complaint has some truth to it.
If you can manage to turn the situation around and take the extra step to ensure your customer is happy with their experience, you can guarantee they will tell their friends and family about it. This is much better for you and your brand than them telling anyone who will listen about their bad shopping experience.
Sometimes biting your tongue and swallowing your pride, even when you know you are in the right can go a long way to protect your reputation and even turn the unhappy customer into a repeat customer. The customer may not always be right but they do deserve your full attention and respect.
This can be a very difficult area. It can be really hard when you have worked at creating something of quality, have someone buy it, receive the money for it and then have the customer decide they want to return it.
Only you can decide on your returns policy, but whatever that policy may be, make sure it is stated clearly. Clear concise policies do not leave room for customers to make excuses in the case of a dispute. Sometimes things can get damaged in transit, even with careful packaging. It is up to you to decide on the right course of action. It may be better to occasionally wear the costs, learn from it and keep a satisfied customer by allowing them to return the item and offer a refund or new item.
Packaging is an opportunity to communicate with your customer and can promote repeat business for your shop.
Think about the customer at home opening your package, it is so exciting to receive a parcel in the mailbox! It is like opening a present on Xmas morning! Consider how your beautiful handmade goodies are presented when the package is opened up. Is the product nestled between layers of beautiful coloured tissue paper with a ribbon and a hand written note? Or crudely jammed into the postbag with no wrapping or note? I know which one I would prefer to receive. If you need to use bubble wrap to protect your product you can still do this and then wrap the paper around the bubble wrap.
Handwritten notes are personal and show time and care has been put into the order. When I receive a handwritten note in an order I always keep them and make a note of the seller. I then dig these notes out when I am next looking to buy something for a loved one or myself.
When possible try to include a little freebie in with the order. Make sure the freebie is relevant to what the person ordered. I once ordered some child themed fabrics and the seller included some remnants of some cute patterned fabrics that had little characters on them, which I used to decorate some baby singlets. I remember being really appreciative of this gesture and I made sure I kept the card and bought from this seller again.
Your packaging doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Your customers are shopping for something that is handmade and unique so making your packaging by hand makes sense. Get creative; there are lots of different types of paper. You can use pages from a magazine, old book pages, newspaper, old telephone books or plain paper that you have decorated or painted. I once received a package from an etsy seller who had wrapped my handmade bird beautifully in recycled sewing pattern tissue paper.
Last but not least! Another great tip is to use one of your product image spots in your listings to show the customer your beautiful packaging. Snap a photo of one of your items all wrapped up ready to send. This works especially well if the customer is buying for a gift. If your product is beautifully presented and they can give the gift to their loved one with pride you may just win the order over another seller.